Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My "Feels-like-Oprah" Day with Kindergarten Enthusiasm

Kindergarten Children Celebrate Early Literacy in Song & Story with Author (Debbie Clement at RainbowsWithinReach)


Once-in-a-lifetime we should each have a day when we get to feel like Oprah. Or Santa. Yesterday was exactly that type of day for me. I got to be a combination. Sanprah? or Opta? I'm still attempting to grasp just exactly what happened, and I was there! To attempt to explain all the pieces and parts requires more time than I have at my disposal this morning. I will give it my best shot and then come back and edit (or add) some additional meat and potatoes after the excitement of NAEYC -- which launches later this afternoon --settles into the horizon. 

Yesterday was the first time in my 18 years as music lady and my nine years as an author/illustrator that I have had the personal pleasure of handing every child in attendance a copy of one of my projects: TO.KEEP.FOR.EV.ER! In total, 172 Kindergarten children (which actually included one class of PreK peeps) received a copy of my second picture book, "Tall Giraffe" to take home and read. To say that this was thrilling, is quite possibly the greatest-understatement-of-all-time-ever-typed. At least by me. 

Early Literacy Celebration Culminates in a Book for Every Participant! (Debbie Clement via RainbowsWithinReach)

How did this happen? 
What was involved with pulling off this grandiose-of-all superlatives?
How many brown and spotted, polka-dotted dots had to line up? 

Short answer?
The heart and soul of one young and dedicated K teacher with a dream is enough! 
At least it is when she is supported by the savvy, where-with-all of an amazingly insightful and passionate principal..... 
which is coupled together with an enthusiastic team of teachers.

If you're ever feeling despondent, like education in this country is headed down the wrong path, let me provide this evidence that there are brilliant spots of light that illuminate all that is still incredible, all that is still possible in schools. This month I have had quite an array of observing and participating in excellence-in-education -- up close and personal. 

This day? Yesterday? It will be remembered forever!!! It was The day EVERYTHING came together on behalf of children. It was a day unparalleled previously. All this that you're about to see? It was the hard work and absolute dedication of teachers and the administrators who support them. It happened. Here's the evidence at the beginning of the day. There were three tables in the school library, each stacked with 3 such piles of books. Trust me. That's a LOT of "Tall Giraffe." More than I had ever seen in any one place at any one time. EVER!

The picture book "Tall Giraffe" is giving to every Kindergarten student in attendance

The picture below is the last picture of the day. Reconstructed just before the busses pulled in, because the one taken earlier had been out of focus. There she is. Smiling ear-to-ear. That's THE Mrs. V and a group of her kinder-kiddos that's approved to be on the internet. 

Our little group is gathered in front of the "Tall Giraffe" quilt that they had constructed, in anticipation of my arrival. We're all 'signing' the sign for 'wonderful.' It was in fact a WONDERFUL day. 

An Author/Illustrator Comes to School for the Day: A day with Debbie Clement

You have to back in time to last summer for our first connection, the connection that begins the story's foundation. Heather (Mrs. V) was in attendance at the annual "I Teach K" conference in Vegas, where I had the honor of giving the opening keynote. We had the opportunity to meet 'up close' at the Tuesday evening bloggers & teachers soiree. Heather came bounding over to introduce herself and express her appreciation for my contribution to the conference. 

We ended up seated at the same round table, as the festivities of that evening got underway. I learned at that point that she teaches outside of DC. We have a daughter in the greater DC area. We're coming to DC in November for NAEYC. See where this is going? That's how you start connecting the dots. Basically? I invite myself to Heather's school. 

At one point in the evening's fun, I won an Erin Condrin planner (highly sought after teacher goodie) and I promptly pass my certificate on to Heather, knowing it would be put to much better use on her desk than mine. That was July.  

Kindergarten Art Projects in Response to Debbie Clement's picture book, "Tall Giraffe"

To say that the library alcove storytime space was awash with giraffes is yet another understatement. 
Each of the nine classes invited to participate had created their own giraffe craft rendition. 

Several different classes presented their work in a finished 'quilt' collaboration. 
Yet even within the topic of giraffe quilts, 
each class' finished project was uniquely their own. 

Kindergarten Art Projects in Response to Debbie Clement's picture book, "Tall Giraffe"

Torn Paper Quilt Collaboration for "Tall Giraffe" by Debbie Clement

Torn Paper Mural created for the picture book "Tall Giraffe" by Debbie Clement

Kindergarten artwork in response to "Tall Giraffe" picture book by Debbie Clement

Every square inch of wall and window space was covered. Top-to-bottom. Left-to-right. The picture above shows one of the three walls that encircled us. 

Crayon Quilt Drawings by Kindergarten Students in Response to "Tall Giraffe"

Once that space was all used, then the individual preschool giraffe pieces, built on a paper plate base were displayed by taping them directly to the library books themselves. Ingenious, no? 

Preschool Paper Plate Giraffe Creations in Response to picture book, "Tall Giraffe" by Debbie Clement

You have to know that seeing a 'Tall Giraffe' affixed to the Sendak classic below, made my heart do a cartwheel. Such an incredible juxtaposition. 
Yesterday, I got to BE the Wild Thing! 

The song in Mp3 format is available for immediate digital download purchase. 
The picture book version needs to be shipped. 
Both are available at our Early Education Emporium as well as Teachers Pay Teachers. 
~~Click pic below to go to TpT~~

And of course I have a Pinterest board dedicated to all things giraffe!

More needs to be added to this article, once I get a few more of the several hundred pictures edited. The earliest that I see that happening is much later this weekend, but I wanted you to see firsthand the triumph unfold in something close to real time. 

In real time, we are about to go on a Washington DC Metro adventure. 

NAEYC 2013 Program! Della, Jessica & Debbie Clement present

Our booth is all set up for NAEYC. 
Now let this year's fun begin!
Our presentation is FIRST thing tomorrow morning. 
Thursday at  8:00 a.m.

At some point I hope to 'process' all that has happened. 
I attempted to explain it to a little ol' lady in the parking garage of our lodging, who innocently asked about my festive attire and I found myself choking back tears 24 hours after the fact as I tried to explain. 
My words are inadequate. 
My emotions are all over-the-map.  

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...